Mindful self-regulation of attention is a key protective factor for emotional dysregulation and addictive behaviors among individuals with alcohol use disorder

Marco Cavicchioli, Pietro Ramella, Giulia Vassena, Giulia Simone, Francesca Prudenziati, Federica Sirtori, Mariagrazia Movalli, Cesare Maffei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and other substance use disorders (SUDs) frequently show co-occurrent behavioral addictions (BAs) (i.e., gambling and compulsive sex) and other inflexible behaviors (IBs) (i.e., compulsive buying and dysfunctional eating behaviors). The covariation of these conditions might be explained by a role of emotion dysregulation (ED) and executive dysfunctions. This study aims at investigating whether ED and self-regulation of attention (SRA) could be common processes that underpin BAs and other IBs among individuals with AUD. The study hypothesized that SRA should represent a key protective factor for the relationships between ED and BAs/IBs. The research included 319 treatment-seeking individuals with a primary diagnosis of AUD. Five independent multiple parallel mediational models were tested. Self-report instruments were administered in order to assess ED, BAs and other IBs, which represented independent and dependent variables respectively. SRA was self-report assessed and, it was considered the key mediator variable. The analyses highlighted significant total effects of ED on the severity of BAs and IBs. SRA fully mediated the relationships between ED and BAs/IBs, with exception of gambling. ED and SRA should be considered common dimensions that explain the covariation of BAs and IBs among individuals with AUD. SRA represents an adaptive form of emotion regulation that sustains the engagement in goal-oriented behaviors. Future neuroimaging and longitudinal studies are recommended in order to demonstrate the role of ED and SRA on development, maintenance and treatment of BAs and IBs among individuals with SUDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106317
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume105
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Behavioral addictions
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Inflexible behaviors
  • Self-regulation of attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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